First of all, I hope you and your family remain safe and healthy during the next few months. We are all getting an unprecedented opportunity to experience the life of a Taoist hermit, although we remain connected through the internet, snail mail and remote deliveries!
Everywhere you turn, there is plenty of good and not-so-good advice about how to stay healthy and safe, so I won’t repeat it here. Instead, here are my personal tips for incorporating Taoist coping mechanisms into your daily routine:
1) Tai Chi, Qi Gong and breathing exercises. It doesn’t have to be complicated or intense; do 70 percent of what you think you can do and find videos and tutorials suitable for your fitness level. Even one exercise a day can have a profound impact on your qi.
2) Tea Ceremony. Ok, let’s face it, for many of us, this is also a coffee ceremony! But tea offers more shen settling benefits than coffee. Try setting a specific time of day for a cup of tea, and make it a minimum of a half hour of quiet time, alone or with your housemates.
3) Contemplative reading. It’s important to stay current on the news, but also to nourish the shen with your favorite Taoist books to help you keep the long view in sight.
4) Connect with nature. This is a wonderful opportunity for many of us who are usually stuck in an office all day to get outside. There is no substitute for sunshine, fresh air and forest bathing. Plus, middle to long-distance viewing gives our eyeballs a rest and helps soothe the liver, which is perfectly suited for spring.
5) Meditation. It only takes a few minutes a day to rewire your brain. I think art and music also count in this category. For some, it could be woodworking. As we all know, any activity can be turned into a meditation in the right frame of mind.
Now for a bit of housekeeping. It is likely that as you read this, we will have suspended single copy delivery to retail outlets for 2020. So please head over to our website, emptyvessel.net, should you need additional copies of the Spring issue. We also have back issues going all the way back to 1993, the original edition!
To offset the loss in revenue from single copy sales, we’ve also set up a new online bookshop at https://bookshop.org/shop/DaoDog. We’re busy curating a list of Taoist books that you can purchase straight from that website and help support us at the same time. Please check it out!
We now also have a dedicated phone line for the Empty Vessel: 941-380-3829. This should eliminate any confusion for readers who were calling my clinic with questions or address changes.
Chris, Heather and I look forward to another year of sharing and creating a community of Taoism with you.